Articular cartilage damage is a common knee problem that can occur from playing high impact sports or through gradual wear and tear. Patients with articular cartilage injuries may experience pain, stiffness, swelling, and uncomfortable movement. Other symptoms include:

  • A clicking or grinding sensation
  • The knee occasionally locking, catching, or giving way
  • Pain with prolonged walking or climbing upstairs
  • The knee may make noise typically described as a “snap, crackle, or pop.”


Minor cartilage damage can often improve without surgery, but more severe cartilage damage may require treatment. Microfracture surgery is a common surgical technique used to treat damaged articular cartilage of the knee. The procedure can be performed arthroscopically by first removing the damaged or loose cartilage and then creating tiny microfractures in the surface of the joint to stimulate the body’s natural healing response. The technique is frequently used in athletes and patients with a small area of damaged cartilage in an attempt to stimulate new cartilage growth.


Microfracture surgery is an outpatient minimally invasive procedure, and patients can return home the same day. After the procedure, the knee may be temporarily placed in a brace for stability, and some patients might be required to use crutches for a few weeks. Some discomfort, pain, and limited mobility should be expected several weeks after surgery. Recovery often depends on the injury and the patient’s overall health.

If you or a loved one are considering microfracture surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Goldberg today!